Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting Ready For 2011

From My Perspective - - -

It seems as though there should be more months left in 2010 – and yet – we are rapidly moving into 2011. Everyone hopes that the New Year will bring better and happier results – less foreclosures; fewer bankruptcies; lessening tension among volatile nations (Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan); lowering of national debt (13 trillion plus is more than absurd); government functioning in behalf of the citizens rather than in personal or vested interests; media to report facts rather than editorial assessment and attachment; churches refocusing on spiritual values rather than empire building and fund-raising appeals; etc.

One of the areas neglected in contemporary times is in terms of spiritual values. No one can deny they have eroded and shoved into the background of any modern lifestyle choice. With the desire and quest to become more relevant, the “church” has allowed itself to become more irrelevant. In its hope to gain more communicants, it has produced what is lackluster and ignored. It has removed itself from what is foundational to that which is speculative. It has distanced itself from the splendor of the Gospel to that which is deemed to be the spectacular and with greater appeal. The result of all these various attempts at relevance has produced a weakened and emaciated “church” that is increasingly being ignored. I Corinthians 14:7-8 states, “If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” At a time when the message of the Gospel should be thunderous, it has instead become hardly a whisper in the landscape of our nation and world. Within this culture, a giddiness has supplanted stability. Many of those who have aspired to and/or gained prominence in the area of religion have yielded to the quest for being the biggest and most popular rather than the most sound as the powerful message of redemption and hope is clearly proclaimed.

Rather than year-end appeals for contributions, why not a clarion call for repentance and revival? Why not trumpet the message that true change is possible and remedy for life can be an immediate reality? Why not focus upon substance rather than diatribe and the mediocre? In the midst of recession and/or depression, why not issue the call to implement II Chronicles 7:14?
  • “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face,and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
At a time when so many lives are fragmented under the pressure of uncertainty and loss, why not challenge the culture to find and apply the principles of spiritual maturity and to implement Ephesians 4:14-15,
  • “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…”
The culture has tried secular humanism and is learning that complete failure awaits one at the end of the day and at the end of the road. The “church” seems to display a restlessness and an interest in something “new” and dynamic. Over the years, the “church” has embraced liberalism/modernism; liberation theology; neo-orthodoxy; existentialism; modernity; and now – post-modernity. In these quests, the Head of the Church – Jesus Christ – is ignored or removed from the equation. Meanwhile, some of the largest media churches – while having popular appeal and some influence – omit reference to sin (that’s too negative) and place their emphasis on the positive and psychological message. We need to return to the foundational truths of the Gospel and spiritual growth, vitality and maturity as the lifestyle choice for the people. For instance, someone has shared: “…when maturity is taking place, balance replaces extremes and a seasoned confidence replaces uneasy feelings of insecurity. Good choices replace wrong ones. What characterizes your life and lifestyle? Do you have these marks of maturity: (a) Concern for others that outweighs personal concerns; (b) Detection of the presence of evil before it's obvious; (c) Self discipline; (d) Compassion and involvement; (e) Tempered emotions; (f) Consistently growing in God's Word?” This would be a worthy starting point for 2011. Will you give it your effort?  Will you try?  Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lame Ducks Seem To Be Flying High

From My Perspective - - -

One would picture a “lame duck” as a creature that is injured or suffering some major malady. The broad definition attaches itself primarily to politicians and has gained the meaning of: “an elected official or group of officials, as a legislator, continuing in office during the period between an election defeat and a successor's assumption of office; a person finishing a term of employment after a replacement has been chosen; anything soon to be supplanted by another that is more efficient, economical…” After the recent elections in November 2010, the returning Congress was repeatedly referred to as the “Lame Duck Session.” A Seattle Times Editorial summarizes: “…After tax-cut legislation was completed, eight Republicans joined Senate Democrats passing hard-fought and overdue repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" legislation… On an arms-control treaty with Russia reining in nuclear weapons, 13 Republicans joined Democrats and independents to support the treaty…” It seems as though the “lame duck” still had a lot of strut and quack left as the year ground toward an end.

One of the things that doesn’t get mentioned very often regarding a “lame duck” Congress or Presidency is the underlying concern of the politician for a “legacy” – something that would signify his/her focus and drive to see accomplished. A “legacy” has varied meanings but, in general, is: a gift of property, esp. personal property, as money, by will; a bequest; anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor…” Different writers have used the word “legacy” in interesting ways. An examples is: Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536), a Dutch humanist who wrote: “What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.” Another is Hope Edelman (20th century), U.S. author who wrote in an epilogue to Motherless Daughters: “I am fooling only myself when I say my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on in everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide.”

In a Blog, Jeffrey H. Anderson has written: “There's a lot of overblown talk right now about how President Obama has righted his political ship since the midterm election by helping to force through an abundance of mostly liberal legislation in the lame duck congressional session. A Rasmussen Poll released on December 23, 2010 presents a very different conclusion. The poll shows that, by a margin of 3 to 2 (39 percent to 26 percent), likely American voters who have a strong opinion about President Obama's performance strongly disapprove of his performance – the exact same ratio (45 to 30 percent at that time) as on Election Day.  Among all likely voters (not just those who feel strongly), President Obama's approval rating has moved from minus-3 points on Election Day (48 percent approving, 51 percent disapproving) to minus-4 points today (47 percent approving, 51 percent disapproving).” Will this change in the next two years? Will he be able to preserve his legacy? Are most Americans focused on a President’s legacy?

A Legacy that matters most is shared in Psalm 37. It rests upon the Lord’s faithfulness. Just a few excerpts from Psalm 37:21-31, “…the righteous is generous and gives; for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land…The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the Lord loves justice; He will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever…The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” This is completely different from the “lame duck” politician who is primarily focused upon self and personal accomplishment. The Biblical Legacy is focused upon the Lord and His continued faithfulness toward the righteous. Consider these things with me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Are The Chances That...

From My Perspective - - -

What are the chances that you know everything there is to know and everything that is going to happen? What are the chances that your brain is used to a 100% capacity and completely saturated with information so that there is no more room for anymore data, facts, or experiences to remember? On December 19, 2010 – in a segment by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes (CBS) gave an extended report on: The Gift of Endless Memory – Superior Autobiographical Memory. Her report began: “It is often said that we are our memories - that web of experiences, relationships, thoughts, and feelings that make us who we are. We don't remember it all of course. That would be impossible. Or would it? There has been a discovery in the field of memory recently, so new you won't find it in any textbook. It's so hard to fathom, there are some who remain unconvinced. For the moment, the scientists studying it are simply calling it "superior autobiographical memory." And unless you happen to know one of the handful of people discovered so far who have it, get ready to be amazed.”

One who is conducting a study of this group was asked: “…is this group is anything like savants. ‘I guess the answer is yes and no. They're not people who have an extraordinary ability, but can't tie their shoe. And that's part of what, I think, makes this at least so interesting for me, is that you have this really remarkable ability in a person who is otherwise pretty darn normal…’ But what exactly does ‘normal’ mean, when you remember every day of your life? When everything good - and everything bad - that has ever happened to you is right there, instantly accessible? One was asked: ‘When you look back at painful memories, is it just as raw?’ The reply: ‘Sometimes it'll be as though it happened yesterday. Sometimes, it's as though it happened last week…’ Just the mention of a sad day, like the one in 1986 when one learned she'd have to change schools , and she relives it emotionally. She said: ‘I felt like my whole world was collapsing. And you say that and it's like all of a sudden I feel like this really heartbroken little 13-year-old all over again…”

Most of us have lives that are log-jammed with activity and experiences on a continual basis making it almost impossible to remember much more than the mere high points of a day or week. This brings up a question: What do you remember about December 21, 1554? This is the date when the last Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse coincided with each other. The winter solstice - the day that marks the beginning of winter and the shortest day of the year - occurs at 6:38 p.m. EST Tuesday: December 21, 2010. A lunar eclipse will occur this winter solstice. A lunar eclipse is when the moon falls in the Earth's shadow. The eclipse can be viewed in America by simply looking at the sky starting at 2:40 a.m. EST. Maximum eclipse will be at 3:17 a.m. The eclipse will be over at 3:53 a.m. it will also represent the darkest night of the year. In case you missed it last time, you can see what others saw 456 years ago.

What are the chances that you will see and experience what the Bible teaches about the sun and moon in the Day of the Lord. Such as, Isaiah 60:19-20 - “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.” And the event described in Isaiah 30:26 – “The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.” There is also a description of a scene after the end of the world as we and generations prior to us have experienced it, namely, Revelation 21:23-25 – “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.” There is no element of “chance” at this juncture. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you will be in the presence of The Lamb – The Light of the world. Why take the chance of missing this eternal reality?  Consider these things with me!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flying High

From My Perspective - - -

The journey into space and landing on the planets – it started with a humble beginning and effort 107 years ago – December 17th, 1903. The history of the Wright Brothers is somewhat ignoble. The sketch and summary of their lives is brief: “The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), built and flew the first airplane in human history. The brothers were engineers and tinkerers who founded the Wright Cycle Company in Dayton, Ohio in 1892. While the bicycle business sustained them, they began to experiment with kites, gliders and other flying machines, always with an eye to creating a powered machine that could carry a man aloft. Their first successful flight, with Orville at the controls, took place at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on 17 December 1903. The plane covered 120 feet in about 12 seconds; a short flight, but enough to make history. Others had flown in balloons and gliders, but the Wrights' creation was the first in a manned, motor-powered, heavier-than-air craft.” A small portion of that first aircraft was carried in the Space Suit of Neil Armstrong as he landed and walked on the Moon – 66 years after the successful flight of the Wright Brothers. A favorite poem of most pilots and airmen is High Flight, written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Robert Crawford is credited with writing the Air Force Song. The second stanza contains these words:
Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder,  Sent it high into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world asunder; How they lived God only knew!
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer  Gave us wings, ever to soar!
With scouts before And bombers galore. Hey!  Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

The Psalmist, pausing to muse about his life and God, wrote these thoughts in Psalm 139:7-12,Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there!...If I take the wings of the morning…even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day…” A Book written in 1945 – God Is My Co-Pilot - an autobiography by Robert Lee Scott, Jr. – tells of his association with the Flying Tigers and the United States Army Air Forces in China and Burma during World War II. At first, he was deemed to be too old (Age 34) to fly combat missions against the Japanese. He persuades Claire Chennault, the leader of the Flying Tigers to let him fly with the airmen who have been fighting the Japanese as a mercenary air force. Scott gets his chance to fight, ultimately engaging successfully in combat with the deadly fictional Japanese pilot known as Tokyo Joe. Question: Is God more than just a co-pilot in your life? Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


From My Perspective - - -
It’s strange how interruptions occur at the most inconvenient times, such as: (1) power outage – work is being done on a Computer project and some of that copy is lost or garbled; (2) watching a news event – either a power outage or a commercial break causes one to miss important details; (3) a public speaker – when an audience member rudely yells out; throws an object; has come with a group that will boo and hiss so the speaker can no longer complete the speech; etc. Interruptions are just a part of an ordinary life. If one was able to plan them or for them, would they really be Interruptions? How one responds to interruptions is important. Interruptions invariably occur when one is trying to rest, or dine with a spouse or other friend. It occurs by the telephone call or a knock on ones door. Telemarketers usually call when the average person is trying to relax. Does that annoy or frustrate you? Do you become irritated and resentful? Does it cause you to become impatient? Do you utter a profanity to indicate your annoyance?
There are different types of interruptions. A Classroom or Public Forum where a student politely asks for clarification regarding the subject being taught; or a Public Gathering where someone rudely disrupts with the intent of silencing the speaker. The definition of the word “interruption” is not very helpful. The meaning given is: “something (or someone) that interrupts, such as a comment, question, or action; an interval or intermission…” The Thesaurus lists up to 46 results and possibilities. Among them are: “break; interference…disconnection, discontinuance, disruption, intrusion, parenthesis, pause…” One of the options listed is the word “lacuna” – meaning: “pause, gap, interval, opening, space.” The Philosopher, Schopenhauer once stated: “Noise is one of the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but is also a disruption of thought.” A man – William Arthur Ward is reported to have said: Interruptions can be viewed as sources of irritation or opportunities for service, as moments lost or experience gained, as time wasted or horizons widened. They can annoy us or enrich us, get under our skin or give us a shot in the arm. Monopolize our minutes or spice our schedules, depending on our attitude toward them.” A somewhat caustic comment was made by Christopher Shays: “Cruise passengers can be blinded to the very real perils of the sea by ship operators unwilling to interrupt the party for security warnings. And after an incident occurs, a thorough investigation can be profoundly difficult when the crime scene has literally floated away, on schedule, to its next port of call,” One of the great political put-downs was in a speech by Arlen Specter when he told an opponent: “The word is, he was looking for a way to interrupt somebody in the middle of the word ‘if’…” There is the sobering thought by Rodney Dangerfield – the man who said – “I don’t get no respect.” – “I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.”
Throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, there were several interruptions. One of them occurs in John 14. Jesus is in the midst of telling His disciples that He will be leaving them. When His earthly and physical ministry is completed, He will return to Heaven and prepare a place for all of His followers. He is in the middle of His statement in verses 3-4 is: “I will come again and will take you to myself, thatwhere I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” INTERRUPTION – verse 5: “Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Later on, Thomas would also have a problem understanding the resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 20). But this Interruption allowed Jesus to make the very succinct statement regarding one gaining entrance into God’s Heaven – verse 6: “Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, andthe life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Kenneth Wuest in his Amplified Greek New Testament Studies gives his literal translation of John 14:6, “Jesus says to him, I alone, in contradistinction to all others, am the road and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Because of the Interruption by Thomas, we have the clear and precise nugget of God’s Truth as Jesus stated: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In Acts 4:12, Peter and John would offer as their defense: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no othername under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." This is God’s Truth! Have you believed and received it? Consider these things with me!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finagled and Flabbergasted

From My Perspective - - -

Certain events and experiences occur in one’s life or lifetime that fall into the categories of either having been finagled and/or left flabbergasted. Perhaps both occurred simultaneously. In 2008, when the headline read: “Bernie Madoff's $50 Billion Ponzi Scheme,” investment markets world-wide were both flabbergasted and had the sense of having been finagled. “A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going…The scheme is named for Charles Ponzi who became notorious for using the technique in early 1920 (Wikipedia).”

Forbes Magazine reported at that time, “Brazen fraud ensnares well-known investors and nonprofits and gives hedge funds another black eye. The shocking revelation that prominent investment manager Bernard Madoff's hedge fund, Ascot Partners, was a giant scam will intensify redemptions from scores of other hedge funds that will be forced to liquidate holdings and increase downward pressure on stock prices. This additional negative influence on the market, together with liquidations by mutual funds facing redemptions and endowments facing the need for liquidity, are three significant barriers for optimism about the direction of stock prices in the near term.”

The Forbes commentary summarized the obvious: “The arrest of the 70-year-old Madoff, widely considered to have the magic touch as an investor, is another serious black eye for the hedge fund industry and all non-transparent investment vehicles. Investors across the New York area have clamored to be in Ascot because of the stability of double-digit returns and the reports of serious wealth creation. The scandal is bound to reveal the inner workings of the hedge fund industry, whereby intermediary feeders bring in their clients and take fees for putting clients with an investment manager. If Madoff hadn't faced $7 billion in redemptions, this Ponzi scheme might not have been discovered. What's astonishing is that he got away with it for so long with nobody discovering it. What his four family members in Ascot knew is a puzzle that everyone wants answered, but one thing is certain: It's virtually impossible to have returns like Madoff reported, and it should have been a major warning signal.”

What happened was a classic use of finagling. Finagle means: “to trick, swindle, or cheat; to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation.” An apt synonym would be conniving – to “plot or scheme.” At the same time, the unsuspecting investors were flabbergasted when the news broke of the massive fraud that had been perpetrated. To be flabbergasted means: “to be overcome with surprise and bewilderment; astounded.” The synonyms are interesting amplifications: “amaze, astonish, stagger, nonplus, confound; perplex, confuse, mystify.”

II Thessalonians 2:9-12 is an example of spiritual finagling, conniving, flim-flam and a Ponzi-type scheme extraordinaire. The text states: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” The key is in the phrase “believe what is false.” The Madoff Investors believed they would receive extraordinary returns. They believed what was false. In a Biblical-Spiritual sense, there are those who will jettison walking by faith in Jesus Christ and allow themselves to be enticed by the grandeur of the moment – “the activity of Satan – all power, false signs and wonders.” The truth is not in the spectacular but through faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


From My Perspective - - -

December 7, 1941 – A Day That Shall Live In Infamy! President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a Joint Session of Congress on December 8, 1941 at 12:30 p.m. His speech began: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack. It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace…”

A Day of Infamy. Infamy means: “extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act…” The Encyclopedia Britannica shares – Infamy: “public disgrace or loss of reputation, particularly as a consequence of criminal conviction. In early common law, conviction for an infamous crime resulted in disqualification to testify as a witness. The criterion for considering a crime infamous was whether or not it stamped the offender as untrustworthy. The concept was, therefore, at first limited to so-called crimen falsi, originally perjury, but was extended to any crime involving fraud or corruption.” The Japanese representatives in negotiations proved to be deceptive and disingenuous. They were “lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere.”

There are other historical uses of the word/term Infamy. For instance, Wikipedia indicates: “Infamy is a term…in Roman Catholic Canon Law.There are two types of infamy, infamy of law (infamia juris) and infamy of fact (infamia facti). (1) Infamy of law is contracted in one of three ways. Either the law itself attaches this juridical ineligibility and incapacity to the commission of certain crimes, or makes it contingent upon the decision of a judge, or finally connects it with the penalty imposed by him. This kind of infamy is incurred chiefly by those guilty of dueling (whether as principals or seconds), rape (as likewise those who co-operate in it), attempt to marry during the lifetime of the actual consort, heresy, real simony, etc. Infamy of law may be removed either by canonical purging or by application to the Holy See. (2) Infamy of fact is the result of a widespread opinion, by which the community attributes some unusually serious delinquency, such as adultery or the like, to a person. This is more of an unfitness than an irregularity properly so called, unless sentence in court has been pronounced. It ceases therefore when one has shown by a change of life extending over a period of two or probably three years that his repentance is sincere.”

The word “infamy” appears in Ezekiel 36:1-4 (KJV): “…Ye mountains of Israel,hear the word of the LORD:…Because…they have made you desolate, and swallowed you upon every side,that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen,and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers,and are an infamy of the people…” Days of Infamy – such as the Sodomites in Genesis 19, or the godless/unrighteous in Romans 1, or the enemies of the righteous – days of infamy are real and should be remembered as landmark moments from which all can and should learn. Historically, the nation has been called to remember certain things, such as “Remember The Alamo.” This was also the case in December 1941 and the patriotic reminder to “Remember Pearl Harbor.” The Biblical Church is called upon to “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8); and “Remember also your Creator…before the evil days come and...” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). A line from an old ballad is: “Try to remember, and if you remember, Then follow” is an apt reminder for us to Follow our Victor, the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:57). Consider these things with me!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


From My Perspective - - -

I’ve been wanting to write about the subject of Procrastination in this Blog but just never got around to it. I’ve always thought there would be a better day, time or place for doing it. However, we’ll have to see how far I can get before deciding that I’ll finish these remarks another time. There was something I promised myself that I’d do yesterday and didn’t get done – actually – I never got started on it, so I better get that done before I continue writing about Procrastination. The proverb that states: “Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today!” finds no entrance into the thought processes of a typical Procrastinator. Some have gone so far as to organize and become a Group of Procrastinators. A man – Robert C. Shannon – wrote: “There really is a Procrastinators' Club of America, with headquarters in Philadelphia. Their objective is to make known the benefits of putting things off until later. They publish Last Month's Newsletter, and have protested against the War of 1812; tried to get someone to fix the crack in the Liberty Bell; and traveled to Spain to try to raise money for three ships to discover America. The club holds irregular and, of course, late, meetings. If all of us who put things off were to join, it would be the biggest organization in the world. No doubt many of us intend to join, we just haven't gotten around to it yet!” Someone wrote a Poem that gives some sense to how the Procrastinator thinks:

I spent a fortune on a trampoline,
A stationary bike and a rowing machine
Complete with gadgets to read my pulse,
And gadgets to prove my progress results,
And others to show the miles I've charted -
But they left off the gadget to get me started!

That’s a sad picture and story about too many of us. Some pithy comments regarding Procrastination are: “Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday.” Another is: “The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.” And, “If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done.” Lastly, “Someday is not a day of the week.” With that in mind, there is this statement in Proverbs 27:1 (ESV), “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” In The Message Paraphrase: “Don't brashly announce what you're going to do tomorrow; you don't know the first thing about tomorrow.” That is just as clear and plain as it can get. One must take care of matters today. No one can predict whether or not there will be a tomorrow in one’s lifespan. Psalm 90:10-12 states: “The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away…Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” There is a positive commitment and discipline if one is to overcome the innate desire to put things off to another time and place, that is, to Procrastinate. Psalm 119:57-61 shares these words as an antidote to the tendency to Procrastinate: “You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands…I will not forget your law.” Do you see the seven steps given by the Psalmist? They are: 1) I have promised to obey; 2) I have sought Your face; 3) I have considered my ways; 4) I have turned my steps to Your Statutes; 5) I will hasten; 6) I will not delay; 7) I will not forget Your Law.

Jesus addressed the perils associated with Procrastination in Luke 9:57-62, “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, I will follow you wherever you go…He said to another man, Follow me. But the man replied, Lord, first let me go and bury my father. Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. Still another said, I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family. Jesus replied, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Focus on other choices and priorities is also Procrastination. Consider these things that Jesus said and taught! Consider these things with me…!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Blame God

From My Perspective - - -

What do you do when you “blow it” big time? Who is responsible if/when you stumble and fall? When you don’t wish to accept personal responsibility for an act or action, whose at fault? Well - A New Age Theology for Sports states – when you drop a game-winning pass in the end-zone – it wasn’t you who dropped it – it was God who made you miss the game-winning catch. That’s the Headline of an article by Nina Mandell in the Daily News on Sunday, November 28th, 2010 – “Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills Wide-out, Blames God on Twitter After Dropping Game-Winning Pass.” The article states and quotes: “It wasn't his own hands or the Pittsburgh secondary Sunday that foiled Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson from hauling in what should have been the game-winning TD catch in the end zone.It was God. I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!!" the 24-year-old tweeted from his iPad at around 5:15 Sunday after the Steelers' 19-16 overtime victory. AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..." The article goes on to say, “Johnson had a perfect pass in his hands that would have given his team an overtime victory over the heavily favored Steelers. Instead of walking off the field the hero, however, he dropped it. Devastated, the 24-year-old watched in horror as the Steelers drove back down the field for the game-winning field goal…” His lament after the game: "I had the game in my hands and I dropped it. Humbled. Humbled. I'll never get over it. Ever."

There are all kinds of Motivational Quotes about failure – what it means or can mean - Gilbert Keith Chesterton said: "How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win." Thomas A. Edison said: "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward." Lloyd Jones is quoted as saying: "The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed." Dr. Robert Schuller says: "Success is never ending, failure is never final." General Colin Powell has said: "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

In sports, as in life, the question always looms: What does it take to make you want to quit? You can be a don’t try person; or a give-up person; or a never-try-it again person; or a blame someone else person; or – just blame God – it’s all His fault! Athletes and all others should get a perspective for life from a careful reading of Isaiah 40:27-31,Why do you say…"My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” In The Message Paraphrase: “Why would you ever complain…and whine…saying, God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me? Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.”The Buffalo Wide-Receiver was eager to be the hero and ready to celebrate the victory he had attained for his team – except that – victory became defeat when he failed to hold onto the ball. God had given him the ability to play and catch – it was up to the player to use that skill and ability to hold onto the ball. Rather than accept responsibility and blame, he looked for someone else to blame. He chose to blame God! He should’ve looked into a mirror. If he had, his lesson might’ve been: “Pride always goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Consider these things with me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Everything - Give Thanks

From My Perspective - - -

A special day reserved for giving thanks – what a splendid idea! Family members travelling from far and near to be together – what a fulfilling time for all! A meal or feast of all the traditional goodies – how excellent are the provisions of God for His children! The leftovers from the Thanksgiving Feast – what a great reminder of the good time had by all.

Sometimes, there are unplanned events that happen in conjunction with Thanksgiving Day, such as, backing a Truck into someone’s van; backing the Truck and catching the mirror on one of the support posts (damaging both); a plastic baking dish filled with Green Bean Casserole melting and catching fire in the oven – ruining the Green Bean Casserole and a Hash Brown Casserole that was alongside of it; cleaning and scraping, scraping and scrubbing the oven; an attempt to bake an Au Gratin Potato Casserole the next day in the same "obsessed" oven – the dish did not melt or burn – but it did actually explode in the oven leaving glass shards and potatoes all over the oven, with milk and cheese sauce leaking out of the oven into a storage drawer beneath and onto the floor; cleaning, scraping, scrubbing the "obsessed" oven once again; the yelling at Grand-kids for rushing into the disaster area; getting irritated because of some thinking it was funny; an antique piece of China dropped onto an antique piece of crystal – both pieces breaking – these are a few of a Thanksgiving Memory!

In everything – Give Thanks! How does one do that when in the span of two days all of the above occurred? Well – the “everything” and the “giving thanks” – how does and can this work? Give thanks – no one was injured. Give thanks – the fire was contained and other than the food – no damage occurred to anyone or anything. Give thanks – the two vehicles can be repaired with minimum cost. Give thanks – the China and Crystal are only “things” that are temporary at best. Yes! – Give thanks – what a privilege and discipline!

When one thinks about the “in everything” passages in the Bible, there is an all-encompassing dimension of life that is presented. In Everything and the Grace of Giving mentioned in II Corinthians 8:7, “But as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you--see that you excel in this act of grace (of giving) also.” In Ephesians 5:19-20, the interactional life one should have within the household of faith is to: “address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” In Colossians 1:17-19, we are reminded that Jesus Christ is to be seen, recognized and honored as the one who… “is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” In addition, we are to understand that in our “everything” – He is preeminent! In Colossians 3:17, there is the instruction about how we are to approach every and all tasks, namely, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

To enable us to have a clear focus for life, there are two additional passages we’ll note. The first is I Timothy 6:17, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” It is a reminder to honor The Source of all that we have been given to enjoy. The second verse is II Timothy 2:7, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” There are many more “in everything” passages but these suffice so that the “in everything” experiences – whether they are deemed positive or negative – should find expressions of Thanksgiving to God. Why? Because He was there all the time, and because He has a perfect plan for each of our lives. Psalm 118:1 enjoins: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118:28, “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.” Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amid All The Hoopla

From My Perspective - - -

Here we are – a big travel week; a big shopping week; big family gatherings; big quantities of food for ones indulgence; big expenditure of monies; big increase in personal credit debt; big disappointment when your “better and best” football team loses – Happy Thanksgiving Everyone – seems to have a hollow ring to it.

Besides the personal gratification, there should be a time for pause amid all the hoopla. The economy has no forecast of improvement at this point; danger spots in the world are escalating their saber-rattling; travel and the passing through body-scanners is a new phenomenon (as well as being frisked and groped) because of the threat of terrorism.

Amid all the hoopla, can there be a time for looking to The Eternal God, The One Who is all-powerful and Who is fully capable of doing all things? Can we remember the words of Ephesians 3:20 that remind us He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine? Can we unite, or if alone, raise a voice of Doxology to Almighty God?

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Praise Him, all creatures here below!

Praise Him above – ye heavenly host!

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

Can we unite in singing a Contemporary Worship Chorus?

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the holy one,
Give thanks because he's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say I am strong;
Let the poor say I am rich;
because of what The Lord has done for us -
Give Thanks...!

Can you take a few brief moments – by yourself and with your family and guests - to read in a meaningful way – Psalm 100 (A Psalm of Thanksgiving – The New Living Translation)?

Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth!

Worship the Lord with gladness.

Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

He made us, and we are his.

We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates (His Presence) with thanksgiving;

Go into his courts (His Throne Room)with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and his faithfulness continues to each generation.


We’ve come a long way as a nation and people. Let’s not forget Almighty God – He wants our attention and He desires our Thanksgiving! Consider these things with me!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Missing Bridegroom

From My Perspective - - -

Traditional Marriage – what happened to it? The Bride – where is the Bridegroom? Matrimonial Bliss – why is it missing? Home and Family – does this generation know what that is? Family Values – do they not matter anymore? An Associated Press article on November 18, 2010 has this headline: “40% Believe Marriage Is Becoming Obsolete!” Does that shock you? Does Society and our Culture care? What about the Church – does it matter to the broad cross-section of Denominations?

The AP article includes: “As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren't needed to have a family. A study by the Pew Research Center, in association with Time magazine, highlights rapidly changing notions of the American family. And the Census Bureau, too, is planning to incorporate broader definitions of family when measuring poverty, a shift caused partly by recent jumps in unmarried couples living together… about 39 percent of Americans said marriage was becoming obsolete. And that sentiment follows U.S. census data released in September that showed marriages hit an all-time low of 52 percent for adults 18 and over. In 1978, just 28 percent believed marriage was becoming obsolete. When asked what constitutes a family, the vast majority of Americans agree that a married couple, with or without children, fits that description. But four of five surveyed pointed also to an unmarried, opposite-sex couple with children or a single parent. Three of 5 people said a same-sex couple with children was a family… The changing views of family are being driven largely by young adults 18-29, who are more likely than older generations to have an unmarried or divorced parent or have friends who do. Young adults also tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to spousal roles and living together before marriage, the survey found. But economic factors, too, are playing a role. The Census Bureau recently reported that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent this year to 7.5 million. It was a sharp one-year increase that analysts largely attributed to people unwilling to make long-term marriage commitments in the face of persistent unemployment…” USA TODAY adds in their report: “Marriage is still the norm for college grads (64%) but less so for those with no college (48%). Blacks are much less likely to be married (32%) than whites (56%), the report finds. Cohabitation has nearly doubled since 1990. Pew found 44% of adults (and more than half ages 30-49) have cohabited. Among these, 64% say they considered it a step toward marriage…”

The concept of Marriage with a Bride and Bridegroom – where does it originate? Does Culture and Society’s Laws define and mandate what constitutes a bonafide marriage? The Bible records, at the time of The Creation, in Genesis 2:18 this purpose – “…it is not good for man to be alone.” That brought about the act of God to create a woman to be man’s helper – Genesis 2:23-24. The text includes: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." It was intended to be one man with one woman for one lifetime. The idea of a woman being man’s helper in Genesis 2:20 is that man is incomplete unless or until the right woman enters into the commitment of marriage with him. When the Pharisees asked Jesus about marriage in Matthew 19:3-6, He replied: "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." The relationship and responsibility of a husband to his wife is amplified in Ephesians 5:21-32. It is a passage that speaks of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church, with the application being made in the text to the minimal Biblical Standards and Values for marriage.Husbands, love your wives…He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Cultural Trends will never satisfy or bring fulfillment. Biblical Mandates will bring fulfillment and completeness. Consider these things with me!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why Do Pigs Have To Fly?

From My Perspective - - -

The mental picture of a Sow or a Hog flying boggles the mind and over-taxes ones imagination. The expression – “when pigs fly” – has been with us for many years. Yahoo Answers includes this possible meaning: “You have to go back a long way to find the original of this idea. It seems to have been a traditional Scottish proverb, which was first written down in 1586 in an edition of John Withal's English-Latin dictionary for children. This had an appendix of proverbs rendered into Latin, of which one was the usual form of the proverb in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: "pigs fly in the air with their tails forward". If they did indeed fly, the proverb argues, flying backwards would seem a small extra feat.” The answer goes on to say: “Another version is more famous, because it appears in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: "I've a right to think," said Alice sharply...Just about as much right, said the Duchess, as pigs have to fly."

Wikipedia has a more profound possibility. It allows that “The phrase – when pigs fly – is an adynaton, that is, a figure of speech so hyperbolic (creative exaggeration) that it describes an impossibility. The implication of such a phrase is that the circumstances in question (the adynaton, and the circumstances to which the adynaton are being applied) will never occur.” Another source states: “When pigs fly is an informal way to joke that someone will never do something or something will never happen. Example: "Do you think you will ever work at that company again? Reply: When pigs fly!" Some humorist with an obvious idle moment mused: “…and pigs could fly if they had wings, and pigs may fly, but they are very unlikely birds.” It amounts to: “the odds of something happening are close to zero.”

A story from Sky News in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2010 reported the following: “A toy shop has been branded "ridiculous" by mothers after it removed a pig from a children's farm set – in case it offended Muslim and Jewish parents. The animal was missing from the Early Learning Centre’s (ELC) Happy Land Goose-feather Farm when a mother bought it as a gift for her daughter's first birthday. The set did contain a cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog, but the pig sty was empty – even though there was a button that made an "oink" noise. When the mother named only as Caroline complained, she was told in an email the pig had been removed in case it upset Muslim or Jewish parents. Eating pork is banned in both religions because pigs are considered unclean.” It would be interesting to know why the “oink” survived the purge of the Happy Land Goose-feather Farm. Wouldn’t a Muslim or Jewish child be religiously offended by the sound of an unclean animal? This is another instance of political correctness run amuck.

The idea of employing political correctness by removing a toy pig from a child’s Learning Activity seems to be preposterous. It’s tantamount to allowing – “if we don’t let you see it, it doesn’t exist.” Touching the toy pig would neither glamorize the pig in Muslim and Jewish Culture, nor would it pervert the psyche of the child. In a Biblical sense, there are some things that one should be sensitive toward lest they prove to be offensive to another, or one who is “weaker” especially in the faith. Romans 14:1-8 sets the parameters and guideline for us. Note – “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls…Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God…” The crux of the matter is given in Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” The issue is not who is right. The issue is to prevent becoming a stumbling block before another. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plateaus - Positive or Negative

From My Perspective - - -

A Plateau is an interesting consideration. If one is climbing a steep hill or mountain and reaches a plateau, one of three things can occur: (1) look at where you’ve been and decide to return there; or (2) look at where you’ve yet to ascend and decide to press onward to get there; or (3) decide to do neither and just stay where you’ve already arrived. In a way, that’s the story of life – look at where you’ve been and decide to return; look at the challenge that is ahead and decide not to try to go ahead; accept where you’ve arrived and let that be a comfort zone, refuge and ones new habitat. The dictionary allows for those possibilities and alternatives. What is a Plateau?

  1. Topographically, a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.
  2. Basically, a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one's career.
  3. Psychologically, a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning, marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.

Usually, a Plateau is not a good thing or a good place to stop and be satisfied there. In some instances, it could be – in most, it is not. Someone summarized how the average life is lived and suggested a twenty-sixty-twenty theory – namely - that twenty percent of one’s life has experienced being in the pits; twenty percent of one’s life is lived at or near the mountain-peak; whereas, sixty percent of most lives is lived somewhere in between the pits and the peaks. It is a guess at best but it may prove to be very close to the true situation of most people. The key to life is to set realistic goals and to pursue those goals vigorously. The adage is correct that says: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit that target every time.” For our purposes, the focus will be on one part of the definition for Plateau: “a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning…” We can attach – there would also be little evidence of movement or growth. It could easily become a place that is stagnant and causing growth would be stilted (when used as an adjective, it has a meaning: “not flowing continuously or naturally…”).How should a person live his or her life?

There are three suggestions from the New Testament:

(1) The Ministry of Jesus Christ where set forth the parameters for anyone who be a disciple of His – Luke 9:23-26, “Jesus said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. The focus was to be the daily act – take up the cross daily and follow.

(2) The Ministry of the Apostle Paul – Galatians 6:7-9, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” The focus is the principal of sowing and reaping. No sowing – No Reaping! It is the constancy of effort and care and productivity.

(3) The Ministry of the Apostle James – James 2:14 where a basic question is raised, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” The focus is on Faith that is coupled to Action. It’s more than just a belief system – it involves practical involvement in the lives of people, those with need both within and outside of the household of Faith.

It is too easy to seek and become comfortable at a Plateau. This may be a reason why Paul expressed his desire in Philippians 3:13-14, “…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” We need to have that same desire and vigor. In Joshua 14, Caleb is 85 years of age and ready for his inheritance – he doesn’t seek a plateau but a mountain. What an example! What a man! Consider these things with me!